Vaal Triangle History

1889 - 1902


Klip Power Station

William Stow




1939 - 1945

Peace Negotiations



Vereeniging History

  The surge of industrial expansion in the decade after the war brought to Vereeniging numbers of technicians, artisans and machine operators, engineers and administrative personnel; and as the commercial sector expanded its activities to meet their needs, the number of workers in the town increased steadily. Early in this time, Vereeniging Extension One in the north-west was proclaimed, and in   1947, 32 industrial stands from one acre to two-and-a-half acres were offered for sale in the township. None­ the less, the great majority of stands in the suburb were laid out for residential purposes. At the time, Vereeniging's white population numbered 12,308 and 30,219 non-whites dwelled in the municipal area. Two years later, Three Rivers Extension Two was laid out as a residential township.
  When the township of Vereeniging was laid out and proclaimed in 1892, 1,000 morgen of land to the north of the town, on portions of the farms Klipplaatdrift and Leeuwkuil, was retained by the township owner, but under a title deed against which a 'meintrecht' was registered. Nobody worried particularly about the implications of a 'meintrecht', nor were they much concerned about the tract of land which was used exclusively as Townlands, on which the village milch cows grazed alongside horses and other stock.
  As the town developed, restrictions were placed on keeping livestock in the immediate precincts of the village, and it became apparent that the land, over which there was a 'meintrecht', had become too valuable for grazing only, and it was felt it should be put to better use. The town attorneys were accordingly instructed in 1931 to investigate the implications of this strange 'meintrecht' title. Legal opinions were then taken from eminent counsel in the Transvaal, including Sir John Murray, Toby Taylor and Williamson, and finally from a Professor of Roman Dutch Law at Leyden University in Holland. The considered opinions expressed were that a 'meintrecht' was virtually unknown in law but that it operated as a type of servitude, and that the owner could do no more than own the land whereas the people of Vereeniging could do no more than use the area as Townlands. This meant that it could be used for no more than grazing purposes. The stalemate became the subject of
protracted negotia­tions between the Town Council of Vereeniging and the Vereeniging Estates Limited.
  Mayor John Lillie Sharpe, who had instituted negotiations, concluded an agreement with the company in terms of which the Town Council was to exchange other Townlands for full title to the land in dispute, as well as an additional 990 morgen in the area owned by the company. However, in 1936, the Administrator of the Transvaal declined to approve the agreement.
  Towards the end of the war, in the period 1944-45, the Town Council, which was pressed for land to accommodate industrial and residential expansion, delegated councillors Dick Fourie and William Ball to negotiate further with the company. At a meeting, attended by the Town Clerk, Ian McPherson, and the company's secretary, Logan Wishart, Louis Marks offered the Council outright purchase of the disputed land, and the additional 990 morgen, for a sum of £240,000 which Fourie accepted immediately. However, objections were lodged by residents who favoured expropriation under arbitration.
  Mayor Fourie called a public meeting at which the Council's actions were endorsed by the majority of those who attended; nevertheless, two residents petitioned the Administrator who, in August 1945, appointed Magistrate F. Glen-Leary to conduct a one-man commission of enquiry to investigate the transaction.
  The commission concluded that the purchase was in the interests of the town and the Administrator's approval followed; whereupon ownership of the land was transferred to the Town Council in 1946. Finally, on March 8, 1952, the industrial and residential township of Duncanville was proclaimed on portion of the land lying immediately to the north of the town, and in 1957 stands in the wholly residential suburb of Vereeniging Extension Two were offered to the public for the first time.
  Vereeniging's growth to the north was to be influenced by another agreement concluded at this time. Donald McKay had died at the age of 90 years in 1919, and in 1934 his heirs entered into a contract with Amalgamated Colliery under which the company secured the rights to mine coal at
Chapter 14:  A Surge of Post-War Development
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